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Look, I’m not saying lying is the key to a successful relationship, but I’m not not saying it.

Be truthful, but not entirely (Image via Ageless Fitness)

Yes, honesty is key, but it’s not always the best policy. While a 2015 study reports that as many as 70 percent of people name honesty as their top priority in a relationship, these people probably aren’t being quite so honest with themselves. Everyone thinks they want honesty until they find out that one thing they really didn’t want to know. In a perfect world, everyone would know better than to ask questions they don’t want the answer to. In reality, no one can be trusted with their own curiosity, and sometimes it’s your job to protect your S.O. from themselves.

Disclaimer: Obviously you shouldn’t lie about the big things, like your secret family, having an orgasm when you didn’t, or any other cliché soap opera/sitcom plot device. However, a well-placed white lie can be the difference between the two of you spending a peaceful night together and a lifetime of passive aggressive silence every time she comes back from the hair salon because you admitted you prefer blondes. Below are seven things you can lie to your S.O. about that don’t make you a sociopath.

1. What Your Friends/Family Think About Them

Any magazine will tell you it’s a major red flag if your friends and family don’t like your new partner. However, it’s important to remember that, just like you, your friends and family are sort of shitty people who have their own hang ups, issues and jealousies that they may project onto your new partner. Of course, if your friend says something like, “Your boyfriend is cheating on you. I know this because I just made out with him,” it may be time to have a chat. Otherwise, if your boyfriend cares enough to ask what your friends think of him, you don’t have to tell him that Becky said she “got a weird vibe” when they hung out. Face it, Becky doesn’t like anyone. She probably doesn’t even like you.

2. Your Number

Not your phone number—that crosses into some shady soap opera territory—but that other number, that one you’ve been quietly keeping track of since you lost your virginity. Some people are very comfortable with sharing their sexual history, and other people aren’t. Ultimately, your sexual past is no one else’s business, and while you should never feel like you have to lie about it to suit someone else’s expectations, you’re never under any obligation to reveal how many people you have (or haven’t) slept with. If it matters that much to your partner anyway, you have bigger issues at hand.

3. Being “Fine”

Some people call this being passive aggressive; I call it choosing your battles. Everyone has those little things that they know aren’t worth getting into an argument over, but will always bother them anyway. Yes, you will always be annoyed that his ex-girlfriend likes all of his Instagram posts. But you have carefully weighed all of the pros and cons and decided that it’s not worth bringing up and getting into a fight over, especially because you’ve probably already had this fight multiple times. You know that he doesn’t still have feelings for Jessica, so lying about this minor annoyance is really a sign of trust. Besides, the only logical solution here is forcing him to block her on Instagram, which would only make you look like a desperate psycho. And you’re sure as hell not going to give Jessica that satisfaction.

4. Who and What You Fantasize About

An important milestone in any relationship is the big “what are your fantasies” conversation. Unfortunately, this fun and sexy pillow talk can sour pretty quickly. The memory of that super hot one-night-stand from freshman year may still get you off every time, but you should by no means tell your partner about it. It will hurt their feelings, and for no good reason. If there’s a fantasy you want to bring into the bedroom, you should absolutely feel free to bring it up, just leave out the part about how you got the idea on vacation with your ex last summer.

5. How You Met That One Friend

Maybe you two had a couple Tinder dates that never went anywhere but stayed friends after. Or maybe you met when you hooked up at a friend’s party. Either way, everyone has a few friends with some shady origin stories who truly are just friends. If you want your S.O. to have any chance of acting normal around this person, it’s probably best to keep those details to yourself. Whether or not you think jealousy is healthy, it happens and it sucks for everyone. If you can spare your partner a visit from the green-eyed monster, you probably should.

6. Which of Their Friends You Would Date

This is usually a game girlfriends like to play. It may seem innocent and lighthearted, and she may even think it is. It’s not. It’s a trap. If your girlfriend asks you which one of her friends you would date if you couldn’t date her, do not tell the truth. Lie, fake an emergency, pretend you’ve never met, seen or heard of any of her friends. Just do not answer this question truthfully. She will get upset, and she will not forget it.

7. They’re the Best (and/or Biggest) You’ve Ever Had

Again, no one should ask this question, because the risk of getting an answer you don’t want is pretty high. When a partner asks if they’re your best lay or the biggest you’ve ever been with, they’re looking for reassurance; they don’t actually want to hear about Ryan’s soda-can-sized penis. Being open about what you want and need in bed is important, so you shouldn’t be afraid to tell your partner if there’s something the two of you can work on. But when it comes to comparing your S.O.’s skills to other people, just give them the blue ribbon they’re asking for. They are your number one, after all.

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